The Caning (Paperback)
The Assault That Drove America To Civil War
Early in the afternoon of May 22, 1856, ardent pro-slavery Congressman Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina strode into the United States Senate Chamber in Washington, D.C., and began beating renowned anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner with a cane until it splintered and the helpless Massachusetts senator lay unconscious and covered in blood. It was a retaliatory attack. Forty-eight hours earlier, Sumner had concluded a speech on the Senate floor, during which he vilified Southern slave-owners for violence occurring in Kansas, and famously charged Brooks's second cousin, South Carolina Senator Andrew Butler, as having “a mistress. . . who ugly to others, is always lovely to him....I mean, the harlot, Slavery.” One of the most shocking and provocative events in American history, the caning convinced each side that the gulf between them was unbridgeable and that they could no longer discuss their vast differences of opinion regarding slavery on any reasonable level.
The Caning: The Assault That Drove America to Civil War tells the incredible story of this transformative event. The caning had an enormous impact on the events that followed over the next four years: the meteoric rise of the Republican Party and Abraham Lincoln; the Dred Scott decision; the increasing militancy of abolitionists, notably John Brown's actions; and the secession of the Southern states and the founding of the Confederacy. In the wake of the caning, the country was pushed, inexorably and unstoppably, to war.